The German Girl

Atria. Oct. 2016. 346p. tr. from Spanish by Nick Caistor. bibliog. ISBN 9781501121142. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781501121241. F
OrangeReviewStarHannah Rosenthal enjoys a privileged existence in 1930s Berlin, but the escalating actions of the Nazis, called "the Ogres" by Hannah and her friend Leo, force her family to flee to Cuba. Hannah's life in Berlin alternates with that of Anna, a fatherless 12-year-old in present-day New York City who receives a package of photographs from Havana. Once safely aboard the ocean liner St. Louis, Hannah and the other refugees are treated well by the German captain and crew. On arrival in Cuba, hopes of freedom are dashed when only 22 of the Jewish passengers, including Hannah and her mother, are allowed to disembark. Hannah's father and Leo are among the 907 refugees denied asylum who return to Europe to face certain death. Hannah's life in Cuba is difficult, and two decades after leaving Germany, she again faces danger with the rise of another dictator. The narrative concludes in 2014 as Anna and her mother travel to Cuba to meet her father's Great-Aunt Hannah.
VERDICT People en Español editor-in-chief Correa bases his debut novel on the real-life account of the ill-fated 1939 voyage of the St. Louis, delivering an engrossing and heartbreaking Holocaust story; his listing of the passengers' names at the end of the book adds to its power. [See Prepub Alert, 7/18/16; an ALA Buzz Book.]
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